Monthly Archives: November 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

Today’s bit of Wednesday wonderfulness for me is that I get to have a manicure and a haircut. It sounds trivial, I know, especially in the grand scheme of things. But for someone who is not able to get out often, this kind of girly day is really appreciated.

My fingernails have a tendency to split and break so I went back to acrylics a few months ago. Now I absolutely love the way my nails look after they’re fixed up again.

As for my hair, it only needs a bit of trimming today. Since it is naturally curly and fine and cut in layers, it needs to be trimmed every couple of months to maintain the style. I made the big decision earlier this year to cut off quite a lot of length but it’s easier for me to maintain in the smooth style I prefer. You know how it is: those of us born with curly hair long for straight hair; if we have straight hair, we yearn for those curls. I guess we’re just never satisfied!

So, from me to you, enjoy this Wonderful Wednesday as much as you can, no matter what your circumstances. And may this day be a bright spot in your week!

Treasure Tuesday

Anna’s God Box

The other day I was searching for my box of checks. We do our bill paying online so we rarely write checks and I just couldn’t remember where I keep the unused checks.

While looking through every drawer and basket I could think of, I came across something even better, a treasure: my God Box.

Several years ago I came across the idea of writing down my prayer requests on separate pieces of note paper, one page for each person in my life. Then I folded those notes and placed them in this box. And promptly forgot about the whole thing.

So when I found the box yesterday, I could not remember what it was or why I had labeled it Anna’s “God Box.” Until I looked inside and found about a dozen tightly folded notes.

As I read each one in turn, I alternated between sadness and joy. Some of my written prayers had not come to pass, but several of them had turned out as wonderful as I had wanted. This led me to do some serious thinking. If  these prayers were not answered in the exact way I had prayed for them, did that mean God was not listening?

I’m thinking… no.

What it may mean is that God knows what is best for us and we don’t. A different answer to our prayers may simply mean that our solution is not God’s design for that situation. If He is truly our All in All, then what He allows in our lives must be the absolute best for us, whether we believe that at the time or not.

I guess it’s a matter of faith rather than feelings. Oh, can I ever get caught up in feelings! But if I  believe that God loves me so much that He wants only the best for me, then I have to let go of my uncertain feelings and trust that He will make everything right … in His timing. And that’s good enough for me.

Oh, and the saying on the top of my God Box?

“This is the day

the Lord hath made

Let us rejoice

And be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

Rejoicing with you for this Lord-made day,

Correction…

Yesterday I posted my recipe for an Apple Crostata. I completely neglected to mention that the apples should be peeled as well as cored and sliced. I know, that’s a big “duh” but for people with CFS brains like mine, every little detail needs to be spelled out or we forget or flub things up. I’ve already edited my recipe to reflect my omission, so feel free to copy or share it now.

The Apple Crostata I made yesterday came out sooo good, and so did my turkey breast… AFTER I turned it breast side up. You see, my addled brain did not register the fact that my bird was turned downside up until it had been roasting for 3 hours! So chalk up another duh moment for me.

Not to worry though, everything turned out well in the end. Although Rick’s favorite way of eating freshly roasted turkey is in a sandwich with plenty of mayo — without any side dishes, mind you — I immensely enjoyed my serving of roast turkey with a baked potato and the green bean & mushroom side dish.

That’s one of the things you learn in marriage as you go along. Don’t stress the small stuff like needing to serve a somewhat different dinner to your spouse than you like. I’ve finally learned to make the side dishes and enjoy them myself whether Rick wants any or not! This just means there are leftovers for me to have the next day or so without having to do any more work — and THAT I definitely like!

And here it is!

Here is the result of my baking efforts today, doesn’t it look good?

 

This looks like it took way more effort than I actually used to make such a yummy looking dessert. After checking in the freezer and finding no vanilla ice cream (however did that happen?), I’m going to serve this up later on with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Canned whipped cream to save time and energy, but whipped cream nonetheless.

If you’d like the recipe for this, click here.

Enjoy!

Less than semi-homemade

I used to be able to spend lots of hours cooking and baking in my kitchen — that is, until my health took a nosedive. Now I need to sit down and rest a lot in between tasks, so I’ve been cooking “less than semi-homemade” for quite a while.

No offense to Sandra Lee, whose “semi-homemade” cooking I love, but she puts more effort and time into those lovely dishes (and her tablescapes, I might add!), and these days I can’t even manage that.

So, my definition for “less than semi-homemade” cooking is this: take a box, package or can of something or other, add a few ingredients, and voila! It looks like I spent quite a bit of time over it, and may even taste that way on a good day, but in reality has only taken maybe 15 minutes (minus cooking or baking time).

One of my favorite easy dessert recipes is an apple crostata, which is a fancy name for a rustic apple pie. It involves slicing a few apples and adding a little sugar, flour, and some spices, and literally tossing them together into a refrigerated pie crust. This is especially yummy when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

During the colder months, like right now, I like to use my slow cooker quite often because the end result is a very homey meal with very little effort. My go-to slow cooker dinner is simply to take some frozen chicken breasts and add one can of either cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup, a can of sliced mushrooms, a can of sliced potatoes, and a can of sliced carrots. I add some seasoned salt to the cream soup to give it a little zest and pour it over the other ingredients. About 1/2 hour before I’m going to serve dinner, I bake some canned biscuits, and a real comfort dinner is ready for us.

So what’s for dinner tonight? I bought an after-Thanksgiving turkey breast on sale and am going to roast it. Since the oven will be hot, I’ll toss in a couple of potatoes during the last hour to bake at the same time. My green veggie dish will be fresh green beans steamed first and then sauteed with butter, chopped onions, garlic and fresh mushrooms. Oh yeah!

And that apple crostata pictured above? That’s what’s for dessert!

Thankful to not have…

I was thinking of this whole thankfulness thing and remembered something that I sometimes pray for: what I don’t have.

Okaaay, I can hear most of you saying to yourselves right now. The rest are thinking, say what?

Yes, you read it correctly. I thank God for things I don’t have, things He has not allowed in my life. I’m not just talking about more serious illnesses than those I live with every day or cataclysmic events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. I’m talking about other stuff: more money, maybe more (and more stylish) clothes or a bigger house. How about straight hair instead of the naturally curly mop I was born with? Or writing talent so spectactular that publishers come after me instead of the other way around.

It seems to me that the more we want, well… the more we want, like some vicious cycle. Contentment with what we have now is admittedly difficult to be thankful for. And yet, I’m wondering if allowing ourselves to feel such contentment will result in that inner peace that is so illusive.

“Peace, mercy and love be yours in abundance.” –Jude 1:2

These are what can be ours. And from personal experience, reminding myself that I have these things usually leads to my feeling happy and contented with what I have in the here and now.

How about you?

 

 

Give Thanks to God

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.”

–Psalm 95:1-3, ESV

This year has been one of ups and downs for me, but the ups far outweigh the downs. The best thing that happened in my life this year concerns my son. After praying diligently for him for many years, he came back to the Lord and was baptized in September. And the day after that, he was on a plane to Albania where he was part of a medical mission team. To say that this mother’s heart was full of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord is a gross understatement!

All around us things are happening that make life a challenge. My daily battle with migraines continues but the pattern has changed somewhat. I still wake up with a migraine every morning and go to bed with one every night. The difference now is that on many days I am migraine-free for about four hours so I can at least feel somewhat human and get a few things done around the house.

The other day a close friend who has been estranged from her son for several years received the sweetest note from him as the first step in a joyful reconciliation. In this note, he asked for forgiveness and told her that God had been doing a work in his heart.

My husband and I were saddened to hear of the recent sudden death of a dear friend we knew when we lived in California. We shared many a Saturday morning over coffee, discussing many things including Biblical matters. We don’t know if he ever came to know the healing power of Jesus Christ, but our heavy hearts are comforted by the fact that God knows, and that is enough for us.

Read or watch the news and it is easy to see that all over the country people are struggling with health and financial issues, family and personal relationships, extreme weather devastation, and job problems. Our cost of living is constantly on the rise in direct contrast to most people’s income staying the same or going down.

And yet, in spite of all this, God is always with us and ever in control.

Is life getting you down? Are you wondering when — or if — your suffering will ever end? Why not do something completely different than what our normal human tendency dictates? I’m talking about a radical approach to everyday life, a way of lifting ourselves up before we get mired down in the muck of life as we know it. Here it is: thank God for each and every thing in your life, the bad as well as the good.

Wow… really? Yes, really! It is understandably difficult to thank God for illness, questionable finances, family problems…and on and on. But — and here it comes — how we will be blessed!

Huh?

This is more than the power of positive thinking. It is an inner calm and a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), not in spite of your circumstances but because of them. See what I mean? Radical, right?

Beloved, our thanks to God ought to be because of who He is, not for what He does or does not do for us. We need to be thankful for every single thing in our lives, whether good or bad, because these are what He uses to shape us into who He wants us to be. And the first and best thing we should thank Him for is the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who died in our place, for our sins. How awesome is that?

I wonder if changing our thought process this way would change our outlook on life. I mean, if we remember to thank God first for everything in our lives, wouldn’t that change our view of our circumstances?

Since I am a visual person, I like to picture this: place your arms out wide — this is how much we think we need; now place your hands about six to eight inches apart — this is how much we actually need.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for not always acknowledging who You are and how much You have given us. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on our behalf so that we can spend eternity loving and worshipping You on Your throne. Help us to always remember that You want the best for us, even when we can’t see or understand it. We love You, Lord, thank You for being our All in All!

*~*~*

“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”    –Helen Keller

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” –Henry Ward Beecher

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” –1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

And the new Liebsters are…

Live Uncaged:  http://www.marydemuth.com/

Devotionals That Encourage: http://lynnmosher.com/

I Hope 4 Him: http://ihope4him.blogspot.com/

Girl Talk: http://www.girltalkhome.com/

Faith Imagined: http://www.faithimagined.com/

And now I’ll turn the platform over to all of you listed above to pass on the Liebster Blog award!

Blessings

Happy Monday!

I had quite a nice surprise in my email box this morning when I found out my blog was awarded the Liebster Award. To quote my friend’s blog, “liebster” means “favorite,” so this comes as a wonderful surprise, especially since my blog is so new and has very few followers so far.

The really fun part of this award is that I now get to nominate five of my favorite blogs that have fewer than 200 followers! I’ll be working on that this week, but for now I need to rest this weary bod. Blessings till next time…

Why Go to Church

I read this in an email today and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”

This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor.

It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

When you are DOWN to nothing . . . God is UP to something!

Faith sees the invisible, Believes the incredible and Receives the impossible!

Thank God for our physical and our spiritual nourishment!

- Unknown Contributed by Carole Embry

http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/texts/topics/learning/whygotochurch.shtml

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